Abattis Bioceuticals Corp’s subsidiary, Northern Vine Labs, received a Controlled Substance license from Health Canada in October 3, 2016. This allows Northern Vine to provide analytical testing of cannabis products to licensed producers in Canada.
Many Abattis followers were estatic about the news when it first surfaced. Yes – it’s certainly easy to view the testing license as a short term victory, but the long term value can still be a bit ambiguous. What opportunities are now open to Northern Vine and Abattis?
Ultimately, what good will this license do for the company? Is cannabis testing really even all that important?
Let’s explore potential answers to these questions by examining The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation released in November 30, 2016.
WHAT is this Final Report and WHO is this Task Force?
A nine member task force was assembled in June of 2016 to provide expert advice on establishing a new legislative and regulatory framework for legal access to cannabis in Canada.
As the Canadian government works toward legalizing recreational marijuana, there’s plenty to consider: How to minimize abuse of the substance? How to establish a safe supply chain? How to enforce public safety? And the list goes on……
This task force released their detailed report to the Canadian Ministers of Justice, Public Safety, and Health, which was soon made available to the public. This publication is widely acknowledged as a report that will guide and impact the future political and (especially) legal environment of cannabis sales and usage.
How does this relate to Northern Vine Labs and the need for product testing?
How much will the Canadian government care about monitoring safety? How much will they care about producers regularly testing their products?
If you read through the Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, I think you’ll find the short answer is: They will care quite a LOT.
But let’s examine the evidence from the “Implementation” recommendations (Chapter 6) of the Final Report directly, shall we?
The Federal Government is expected to hold producers accountable early on
Federal investment will … be needed in research and surveillance, laboratory testing, licensing and regulatory inspection and training to increase capacity ahead of regulation …
Many are eager to start rolling out products and servicing the demand ….. BUT quality and safety will be monitored along the way from Day #1. It certainly doesn’t sound like the Canadian government will be messing around and taking chances.
The need for producers to ensure they are delivering untainted products will start early. In fact, it’s already started.
Producers will have to adhere to strict laboratory standards
Laboratory testing is a cornerstone of some of the health and safety measures proposed … Specifically, the mandatory product testing recommended by the Task Force is intended to minimize the risk of contaminated products entering the market and to verify the information on labeling, in order to help consumers make informed decisions … The capacity of this system will need to be adapted to a new regulatory environment and enhanced so that licensed producers can meet new product safety, quality and labeling requirements.
Make no mistake about it. As with any foods, beverages, or drugs on the market today, Canada will demand that a certain, high quality is met by producers.
And the Task Force believes that laboratory testing will be a cornerstone for ensuring that products with potentially harmful additives or contamination will never see the light of day. And if they DO……
Consequences will be enforced
To be effective, a regulatory regime’s requirements must be enforced. Governments will need to ensure that they have the resources and tools in place to do so. This will include building capacity for licensing and inspection at all levels of government: federal (e.g., for production and laboratories) … While all levels of government will be involved in training officials within their respective jurisdictions, we can expect that most will look to the federal government for leadership in setting standards and developing content for such training.
Licensed producers will be subjected to inspections and face consequences if they fail to meet standards. Expect to see new means of enforcement spread across all levels of government soon enough.
Key recommendations and what they do for Northern Vine
The Task Force recommends that the federal government: … Build capacity in key areas, including laboratory testing, licensing and inspection, and training
Northern Vine has its opportunity to begin offering services that validate the safety of producer’s cannabis products. This will only become more important in the coming years, as the government will likely refine their standards, expand their inspections, and issue harsher penalties for offenders.
In fact, Northern Vine has a unique advantage in British Columbia – surrounded by a plethora of licensed producers (LP’s) – as one of the very few organization’s with a license that plans to have a lab ready to start offering LP’s cannabis testing services almost immediately.
Hopefully, these clippings help shed some light on why labs such as Northern Vine will serve a crucial role in the future cannabis industry. Leading experts – including physicians, professors, law enforcement officials, etc – that compose this Task Force believe laboratory testing is important. Expect the government to feel the same way.